Following in the footsteps of several other states leaders, Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire proposed a plan to achieve universal healthcare coverage for the states 6.5 million residents within five years.
The Healthy Washington Initiative would cost about $142 million over the next two years. The plan calls for expanding coverage to unmarried adults under age 25, creating portable insurance plans that workers can carry from job to job, and awarding grants to community health clinics that work with hospitals to reduce emergency room use.
The plan also involves creating a statewide medical records database, designing a state reinsurance program to cover catastrophic claims and expanding the state-subsidized health plan for the working poor. Roughly 600,000 Washington residents, including 73,000 children, are uninsured or underinsured, Gregoire said. -- by Laura B. Benko